LSPD Sergeant files lawsuit claiming retaliation after filing sexual harassment charges City refuting allegations
On November 4, the City of Lake Stevens received a lawsuit filed by Lake Stevens’ Police Sergeant Julie Jamison.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, alleges that former Lake Stevens Police Chief Randy Celori and the city retaliated against Jamison after she made sexual harassment allegations against a subordinate officer over two years ago.
“The allegation was thoroughly investigated, and found to be not sustained,” Lake Stevens City Administrator Jan Berg said in a written statement. “The crux of the harassment allegation was that the subordinate crossed relationship boundaries outside of the workplace in social settings; there were no allegations of improper touching or sexually charged communications. The results of the investigation were timely communicated to Sgt. Jamison and the subject officer. While the investigation was ongoing, Jamison and the subject officer were assigned separate work shifts. The two officers continue to work separate shifts.”
Jamison, who was made a Sergeant at LSPD in 2008, claims in the lawsuit that she was asked to work from home during the internal investigation. The suit also claims that her harasser was not placed on leave, which “is normal practice.”
Jamison’s suit also claims that she was assigned to supervise six officers while other sergeants were only supervising three officers.
In 2011, Jamison was told that her harassment suit was unfounded.
Former Police Chief Celori resigned from his position in November of 2012.
Since that time the police department has made several changes in their policies and procedures.
Currently the department is headed by Interim Police Chief Dan Lorentzen and Interim Commander Dennis Taylor.
They have also eliminated the Sergeant Detective position and have fewer full-time staff.
“An Operations Sergeant concept has not been staffed. The City retained the services of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs’ Loaned Executive Management Assistance Program (LEMAP) to evaluate operational structure and processes; one of the outcomes is a recommendation to hire a Professional Responsibilities Officer. Significant progress continues to be made to improve the Lake Stevens Police Department,” Berg’s statement said.
Jamison also alleges that the department has made policy and other changes because of her harassment allegations,” however, the city disagrees.
“Sgt. Jamison’s lawsuit alleges that many of these changes occurred because she brought forward a sexual harassment claim more than two years ago. The City completely disagrees. The changes are solely operationally and budget-driven,” Berg said. “The City has timely responded to Sgt. Jamison’s retaliation concerns many times over the last year, has met with her, and has provided her with requested documentation. Nonetheless, Sgt. Jamison’s lawsuit demonstrates her belief that organizational changes at the department stem from her September 2011 harassment claim against her subordinate, rather than from operational and budgetary constraints and goals. The City plans to defend this lawsuit.”